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Little Big Man

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

This past Saturday, the Wyoming Republican Party held its quarterly State Central Committee meeting in Laramie. It was a mostly uneventful meeting with the only fireworks set off by Joey Correnti, who was there by proxy for Carbon County. Mr. Correnti took exception to something that Park County hasn’t done yet and demanded action. While we applaud Mr. Correnti’s attention to detail and adherence to state statutes, the whole situation could have been dealt with by talking to the involved parties rather than a motion on the floor involving the entire body. Anyway, nobody died and we move forward.

Of note to Sheridan County Republicans is that we, as directed by the Sheridan County Central Committee on July 29, brought forth the resolution to censure Representative Cyrus Western at the state level. This resolution, originally approved in Sheridan County in March, was not introduced at the April state meeting because the leadership felt it was a county issue and not a state issue. We were told by the grassroots afterwards, in no uncertain terms, that it was, in fact, a state concern because Cyrus is the House Majority Whip, which is a statewide office, and we should have introduced it at state level.

If you haven’t been paying attention, this entire issue stems from a postcard mailer that was sent out to over 7,000 Sheridan County voters during the 2022 Primary. The mailer, known as the “Howdy Pilgrim” card, attacked four members of the Sheridan County Republican party: Jimmie Dee Lees, Laurie Bratton, Kristin Jennings, and Jeff Wallack. The card claimed to be from a PAC called “Wyoming In Name Only” or WINO, with the return address of 30 N Gould St. Statements on the card about two grandmothers, a sitting city councilwoman, and a candidate for precinct committeeman, were both slanderous and libelous.

We had no idea who was behind this mailer, but it was wrong and in violation of state statutes, so an Election Code Violation Complaint was filed. The subsequent Sheridan County Sheriff’s investigation, which required multiple search warrants to pry information from Wyoming Corporate Office at 30 N Gould St, Wells Fargo Bank in Gillette, and the US Postal Service, traced the origin of the card to Cyrus Western’s campaign. The WINO PAC was never set up nor has ever filed a campaign finance statement, so that, too, was completely bogus and illegal. And the money? Bill Novotny, County Commissioner from Johnson County and infamous wrong-way drunk driver, retrieved a Cashier’s Cheque from the Gillette branch of Wells Fargo Bank, in excess of the maximum contribution amount allowed to a campaign, and mailed it to a PO Box in Big Horn. Guess who owns the PO Box? Cyrus Western.

It's very interesting that Bill and Cyrus’s Big Adventure had so many layers of subterfuge. It’s almost as if they knew what they were doing was illegal and wanted to cover up their wrong doing.

What’s even more interesting is that Cyrus was under investigation by the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office in January 2023 yet still swore an oath for his re-elected office that he was “not currently under investigation.” This probably shouldn’t surprise any of us since politicians routinely swear to uphold the US and Wyoming Constitutions as well.

The complaint now rests with the Wyoming Attorney General’s office and is an on-going investigation for civil and criminal liability. Don’t hold your breath. Wyoming has never prosecuted anyone for violating Election Code statutes. Furthermore, the Attorney General is appointed by the Governor, and Bill Novotny was Governor Gordon’s campaign manager. And you thought only Democrats were Teflon coated, didn’t you? Apparently, Cowboy Ethics don’t apply to graduates of elite East Coast schools.

The State Committeemen and State Committeewomen at Saturday’s meeting voted overwhelmingly in favor of censuring Cyrus Western on the state level for immoral and unethical behavior. The action item in the Resolution calls for Cyrus to immediately and voluntarily resign from his position as House Majority Whip.

If Cyrus was ethical and responsible, which he’s demonstrated he’s neither, he would do the right thing and resign his position. He also should publicly apologize for slandering grandmothers and your neighbors. Again, don’t hold your breath as he’s had plenty of time already to take action. Instead he hides away in Colorado rather than facing his constituents in Sheridan County. How’s your state representation working out, HD 51?

Just to be clear, we’ve never “had it out” for Cyrus Western. We have a problem with people who blatantly violate the law, no matter who they are (he is a member of our party after all). Someone with integrity never would have stooped to such a low level, and someone who had a modicum of morals would have owned up to it, apologized, and made it right. Instead, Cyrus chooses to pretend he is innocent and gets belligerent when challenged.

You know what is funny about this? Cyrus’s illegal mailer had absolutely no impact on the outcome of the primary. He mailed this out in retaliation for the Wyoming Is Right PAC endorsing his primary opponent. This is childish behavior. It’s sad that someone who is so big of stature is, in reality, just a very little man.

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